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Photo and sketch by Mike Rohde (CC)Dear Portland,

I’m moving to you in August.

My husband and I are packing up all of our things, loading up our three dogs in the car, and driving for two days across Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, a bit of Idaho, and a good stretch of eastern Oregon to get to you.

Neither of us have lived in you before. Sean’s visited more than I have, but every time I’ve been I’ve really loved you.

Part of me thinks you’re kind of a pagan who doesn’t really identify as Pagan. You don’t like labels. But you compost, and your people seem more aware of their impact on the natural world. It’s not like you’re one big coven or something, but you do have a lot of trees. You’re kind of one gigantic grove.

That sounds lovely to me.

Moving to you during this time when I’m without a defined religious identity feels like it may be a portent of some new Way on the horizon. My husband reminds me, though, that this change I’m feeling is really about me, and what’s going on inside of me.

You’re just a coincidence.

But you seem like more than that sometimes. You seem like the promise of something better; the hope of a greener, more contemplative practice. You seem like fertile soil for the kind of religious life I feel drawn to.

I’m sorry if that’s putting a lot of pressure on you. It may be unfair of me. I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations of you. You’re a city, after all. You don’t really owe me anything, and nobody asked me to move to you. We’re moving, in part, because a number of changes are lining up to make this feel like the exact right moment to leave Colorado.

For one, our kid is starting college. He doesn’t really need us the way that he did before. We’ve been prepping him for a while about wanting to leave Colorado one day, and he’s even though about moving to Oregon after he has a few years of school under his belt. He’s still got his mom here, and we’ve promised to be back for some holidays and to fly him out for other ones. We think he’ll be ok without us.

We’ve also been offered a really terrific living situation once we arrive. Our friends are moving eastward, and they’re letting us rent their house. We won’t be paying any more to live there than we are to live here. All we’ve got to do is come up with the money for the moving expenses, and I think we can cover that.

More than anything, we just really want to be in Oregon. There’s been a pull toward that state for years, and neither of us has been able to understand why.

I guess I’m telling you all of this, Portland, because I’m trying to make sense of what this move means. I’m looking around at all of my things, all of them representing some period of my life — my Christianity, my Druidry, my time with ADF and the Fellowship — and I’m considering what it means to pack all of that up and move it to you. I don’t know which of these things are still important to me, or which I will have no use for once I’m there. I don’t know if I should get rid of everything and start from scratch, or if I should cherry-pick the things that seem worth taking.

[The fact that my stuff is such a concern to me is something worth noting, perhaps something worth it’s own post.]

I have 6 weeks to prepare myself to be in you and I don’t really know how to start.

So, I’ll begin with this letter. A one-way correspondence. You won’t read it — and that’s ok — but writing it helps me start to process through all of this.

Your future resident,

Teo

P.S. Did you know that John Michael Greer lives used to live only about 4 hours south of you? I love his beard. Maybe I’ll grow a beard like that once I arrive. Maybe I’ll start looking into AODA, too.